While news outlets around the world broadcasted images from a shopping mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk after it was struck by a Russian missile while an estimated 1,000 civilians were inside, Russia media has issued a complete blackout of the attack, The Guardian reports.

At least 18 people were killed in the attack which Russian officials called a “Bucha-like provocation.” Russia also claimed, without evidence, that ammunition was being stored at the mall after the attack was confirmed by the Russian defense ministry.

In addition to Russian state-owned media, private outlets also helped the Kremlin cover up the attack.

“The response is a part of Russia’s evolving wartime propaganda,” The Guardian reports. “On the first day of the war, Roskomnadzor, the Russian censor, wrote that media were ‘obliged to use information and data they obtain only from official Russian sources’. Since then, local media have either been shut or have learned to take their cues from the Russian military before reporting the news of the day.”

According to The Daily Beast, Russian defense officials took full responsibility for the attack, calling it a successful military operation. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for Russia’s defense ministry, said the “high-accuracy strike” was conducted not on a shopping mall, but on an arms depot that was housing “Western-made weapons and ammunition” intended for Ukrainian troops in the Donbas.

By Tuesday afternoon, Ukrainian authorities said they had found no survivors in the wreckage.

“We hoped that in the first few hours there might still be survivors. But because of the fire that broke out literally in 10-15 minutes after the strike, we can say with certainty that there are no survivors,” Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said at a briefing.


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